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#25 The Five Books of Moses Lapinsky


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#25 The Five Books of Moses Lapinsky


BOOKMARKS 1–5    |    6–10    |    11–15    |    16–20    |    26–30


Bookmark #25 Toronto, Ontario

The Five Books of Moses Lapinsky by Karen X. Tulchinsky


From the south side, Eddie spots it first. It is quiet and almost strangely beautiful for a moment. A small group of boys on the Camel’s Hump slowly, carefully unfurl a large white sheet. It spreads out like a grand statement on the brown grass, the white of the cloth reflecting bright in the light of a fading orange and pink sunset. It takes a moment for folks to recognize the huge black swastika hand-painted onto the middle of the sheet. Heads turn. Bodies stiffen. People begin to shout.

— from THE FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES LAPINSKY by Karen X. Tulchinsky, originally published by Polestar Press (an imprint of Raincoast Books), is published by Talonbooks (2010). Bookmarked in Toronto on August 16, 2019.


Author Aren X. Tulchinsky wins a round of boxing at the Bookmark fundraiser on August 15, 2019. The boxing demo was presented by the Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club. Photo by Lisa Sakulensky.

Author Aren X. Tulchinsky wins a round of boxing at the Bookmark fundraiser on August 15, 2019. The boxing demo was presented by the Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club. Photo by Lisa Sakulensky.

Jonno Lightstone playing at the launch at Christie Pits on August 16, 2019. Photo by Lisa Sakulensky.

Jonno Lightstone playing at the launch at Christie Pits on August 16, 2019. Photo by Lisa Sakulensky.

 

This is Toronto’s eighth Bookmark, located at the baseball field where the Christie Pits Riot took place on August 16, 1933. Warm thanks are extended to the City of Toronto and Ward 10 Councillor Joe Cressy. The Bookmark’s unveiling featured a reading of the passage by Karen X. Tulchinsky (a.k.a. Aren), and remarks by Project Bookmark Canada Board President Hughena Matheson and fellow board members Susan Lightstone and Don Oravec, Executive Director Laurie Murphy as well as Councillor Cressy. Special thanks are extended to Talonbooks, the City’s Transportation Services Division Director of Public Realm Elyse Parker, and Neighbourhood Improvements’ Maili Sedore. Thanks are also extended to Sybil Walker of Jazz Bistro.


About Karen X. Tulchinsky, a.k.a. Aren, and The Five Books of Moses Lapinsky

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Tulchinksy takes us inside the life of an immigrant Jewish family through the war years and into the early 1950s, creating a stunning fictionalization of a defining moment for a family, a city, and a continent struggling with ideas of freedom, tolerance, and identity in a world broken by war. On a sweltering night at Christie Pits Park, after weeks of tension, four youths unfurled a white sheet emblazoned with a large black swastika during a softball game. A group of Jewish youths struggled to capture the flag, setting off the largest riot in Toronto’s history, involving fifteen thousand people and injuring hundreds.

Aren X. Tulchinsky, the writer formerly known as Karen X. Tulchinsky, is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, video editor, and director. He is thrilled that his novel, The Five Books of Moses Lapinsky, received a Bookmark on the Canadian Literary Trail. This 2003 novel was named One of the Top Ten Books about Toronto by the Toronto Star; was a finalist for the 2004 Toronto Book Awards; and received the 2008 One Book One Vancouver Award. Tulchinsky’s other novels include Love Ruins Everything, and Love and Other Ruins. Born in Toronto, Tulchinsky lives in Vancouver, where he works as a video editor on documentary television shows and continues to write novels. Karen X. Tulchinsky’s The Five Books of Moses Lapinsky, originally published by Polestar Press (an imprint of Raincoast Books), is published by Talonbooks (2010).



The Passage

Harold and George each walk to one end of a rolled-up piece of white cloth, about ten feet long and seven feet wide. They nod to one another and then ceremoniously unfurl the flag. Everything shifts to slow motion. Some of the ball players look up. Some take off their caps and scratch their heads. Others shout. All over the park, heads turn.

From the south side, Eddie spots it first. It is quiet and almost strangely beautiful for a moment. A small group of boys on the Camel’s Hump slowly, carefully unfurl a large white sheet. It spreads out like a grand statement on the brown grass, the white of the cloth reflecting bright in the light of a fading orange and pink sunset. It takes a moment for folks to recognize the huge black swastika hand-painted onto the middle of the sheet. Heads turn. Bodies stiffen. People begin to shout.

“Hey!”

“Oh my God!”

“Hail Hitler!”

“Bastard Swazis.”

“Stinkin’ Jews.”

It’s hard to say where the fighting begins. It starts all over the park simultaneously, in small pockets. It happens at the south end within seconds of the flag’s appearance. Sid and his friends turn to the left. Beside them is a group of Gentile boys.

“Let’s get ’em!” Eddie whips out his lead pipe.

Sid throws himself fists first against the largest boy, knocking him to the ground, then sits on the boy’s chest to hold him down. Ralph grabs a guy by the scruff and socks him across the jaw. The first boy grabs a large rock and smashes it over Ralph’s head. Ralph goes down, silver and white stars swirling.

Another boy grabs Sid by the shirt and hauls him up. The two boys start punchingSid in the face, the chest. His body absorbs the blows.

Lenny walks along Bloor Street with a new stack of library books. He’s taken the long way home so he can stare at the evening-wear display in the window of Smith and Sons Tailor Shop and imagine wearing the black tuxedo, tails and top hats. Lost in his own daydreams, he doesn’t notice the commotion in the park until he’s passing right by the south end of Christie Pits. He stops to look down the hill. Holy cripes. It’s a madhouse. All over the park, guys are beating on each other. He sees Ralph lying on his back, then he spots his brother Sid being held down by three guys who are pummelling him with kicks and punches. I have to do something, Lenny thinks. He moves forward a few steps down the hill. What will he do?

 
 

Banner photo credit: Lisa Sakulensky.


BOOKMARKS 1–5    |    6–10    |    11–15    |    16–20    |    26–30

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#24 Le cœur découvert


#24 Le cœur découvert


Les Signets 1–5    |    6–10    |    11–15    |    16–20    |    26–30


Signet #24 Montréal, Québec

Le cœur découvert par Michel Tremblay


Je n’avais pas envie de traverser l’espace réservé aux danseurs ni de contourner les curieux pour aller le retrouver, alors j’ai décidé de laisser aller les choses, on verrait bien ce qui se passerait. Je me suis même discrètement éloigné vers la grande fenêtre qui donnait sur la rue Saint-Laurent.

Je suis resté un bon bout de temps appuyé contre la fenêtre du bar à regarder les rares passants déambuler dans la rue. La plupart tournaient sur Prince-Arthur, à la recherche d’un restaurant pas trop cher. J’ai même fini par oublier le garçon qui m’observait plus tôt et, ma bière calée, je me suis dirigé vers la porte.

Il s’était déplacé vers le bar, de façon à avoir une vue d’ensemble sur l’établissement. Il était en conversation avec un gars de son âge qui semblait s’intéresser beaucoup à lui, mais il regardait toujours dans ma direction, comme s’il ne m’avait pas quitté du regard pendant tout ce temps. J’en fus très flatté, tellement même, que je décidai de m’attarder encore un peu. Il a esquissé un petit sourire quand il m’a vu hésiter devant la porte.

— passage de LE CŒUR DÉCOUVERT, par Michel Tremblay (Leméac). Un dévoilement officiel prévu pour 25 mai 2019.


Michel Tremblay et Hughena Matheson

Michel Tremblay et Hughena Matheson

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Michel Tremblay est écrivain et dramaturge québécois qui, depuis longtemps, se distingue à l'échelle internationale. L’initiative Project Bookmark Canada commémore le 50e anniversaire de la décriminalisation de l’homosexualité, suite de l’adoption de la loi C-150, le 14 mai 1969, avec un passage du roman de Michel Tremblay, Le cœur découvert, qui se tient à Montréal, Québec. 

L’initiative Project Bookmark Canada ramène nos œuvres de littérature et de poésie sur place et précisément où ils ont été situés à l’aide d’une série de bornes-signaux répartis à travers le pays. Ce projet est financé en partie par le gouvernement du Canada.


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À propos de Michel Tremblay et Le cœur découvert

De la Confédération canadienne en 1867 jusqu’en 1969, l’homosexualité était un crime passible de 14 ans en prison. Après un débat houleux au Parlement, la Loi de 1968-69 modifiant le Code criminel (connu sous la loi C-150) fut adoptée par une majorité. Celle-ci mit fin à la criminalisation des activités homosexuelles et prépara la voie à une évolution rapide par la nouvelle génération. Le ministre de la Justice alors, Pierre Trudeau, a fameusement défendu la loi, déclarant aux journalistes que « l'État n'a rien à faire dans les chambre à coucher. » Aujourd’hui, les personnes gaies et lesbiennes au Canada peuvent se marier et adopter des enfants.

Michel Tremblay est écrivain et dramaturge québécois. Ses œuvres dramatiques, littéraires, et autobiographiques sont immensément populaires dans le monde entier. Ses pièces de théâtre ont d’ailleurs été adaptées et traduites dans des dizaines de langues, et ont obtenu de grands succès partout en Europe, dans les Amériques et au Moyen-Orient.

Le 50e anniversaire de la loi C-150 par le Parlement du Canada, qui fut adoptée le 14 mai 1969 et mit fin à la pénalisation de l’homosexualité, est soulignée par un extrait du roman de Michel Tremblay, Le cœur découvert (Leméac, 1986) ayant lieu à Montréal, au Québec. Traduit en anglais d’abord par Sheila Fischman sous le titre The Heart Laid Bare (McClelland & Stewart, 1989), il fut réédité en 2002 par Talonbooks.


Le passage

C’est en regardant évoluer un danseur très inspiré et étonnamment inconscient de ce qui se passait autour de lui que j’ai aperçu pour la première fois les yeux noirs qui me fixaient, de l’autre côté de l’aire, avec un sérieux presque comique. Un ancien élève ? Non, il semblait beaucoup trop jeune et j’étais sûr de ne pas le connaître. Un très beau gars, d’ailleurs, aux traits fins sans être féminins, genre mannequin local sûr de son effet, mais sans ostentation. Évidemment, ça arrivait juste au moment où je venais de décider que je ne draguerais plus.

Je n’avais pas envie de traverser l’espace réservé aux danseurs ni de contourner les curieux pour aller le retrouver, alors j’ai décidé de laisser aller les choses, on verrait bien ce qui se passerait. Je me suis même discrètement éloigné vers la grande fenêtre qui donnait sur la rue Saint-Laurent.

Je suis resté un bon bout de temps appuyé contre la fenêtre du bar à regarder les rares passants déambuler dans la rue. La plupart tournaient sur Prince-Arthur, à la recherche d’un restaurant pas trop cher. J’ai même fini par oublier le garçon qui m’observait plus tôt et, ma bière calée, je me suis dirigé vers la porte.

Il s’était déplacé vers le bar, de façon à avoir une vue d’ensemble sur l’établissement. Il était en conversation avec un gars de son âge qui semblait s’intéresser beaucoup à lui, mais il regardait toujours dans ma direction, comme s’il ne m’avait pas quitté du regard pendant tout ce temps. J’en fus très flatté, tellement même, que je décidai de m’attarder encore un peu. Il a esquissé un petit sourire quand il m’a vu hésiter devant la porte. Le garçon qui lui parlait s’en est rendu compte et a fait une grimace niaise qui en disait long sur son quotient intellectuel avant de s’effacer discrètement, prétextant une envie pressée, je suppose.

L’aborder ? Non, j’ai décidé de le laisser agir jusqu’au bout. Je suis retourné à la piste de danse, plus animée que jamais. Il m’a suivi. Mais il ne m’a pas abordé. Il continuait de me regarder fixement mais paraissait trop timide pour me parler. Seuls ses yeux, perçants, presque fiévreux, étaient effrontés.

Trouver une phrase d’introduction me tue. Je les ai toutes épuisées depuis longtemps, du moins celles que je ne juge pas trop bêtes, et celles qui me venaient ce soir-là étaient d’une telle banalité que j’en aurais rougi de honte.

Il portait noué autour de son cou un chandail de l’Université de Montréal. Le prétexte n’était pas des plus originaux mais il fallait bien commencer quelque part puisque lui ne se décidait pas.

« Tu vas à l’Université ? »

Il a paru surpris de ma question.

« Non…pourquoi tu me demandes ça ?

— Ton chandail…

— Ah ! ça…C’est un gars…c’est un ami qui me l’a prêté…Je l’ai mis autour de mes épaules à cause de l’air climatisé… »

Il a regardé mon propre chandail avec un sourire moqueur.

« J’te demanderai pas si t’es déjà allé à l’Université du Wisconsin… »

Et je me suis rappelé que je portais moi-même sur la poitrine, inscrit en grosses lettres jaunes tout à fait ridicules, l’emblème de l’Université du Wisconsin.

 
 
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Banner photo credit: Laurie Murphy.


Les Signets 1–5    |    6–10    |    11–15    |    16–20    |    26–30

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#23 If I Die Before I Wake


#23 If I Die Before I Wake


BOOKMARKS 1–5    |    6–10    |    11–15    |    16–20    |    26–30


Bookmark #23 Toronto, Ontario

If I Die Before I Wake: The Flu Epidemic Diary of Fiona Macgregor by Jean Little


I thought of Jemma and almost burst out crying until, all at once, their Aunt Jen saved the situation by coming with a broom and opening the door and sweeping out the old year. By the time we had finished drinking a toast of her raspberry vinegar, which was lovely, it really was midnight, but William was nowhere to be found. We were hunting for him when there was this thundering on the door knocker. Carrie ran to open it and William, with a silly hat on his head, bowed low. “God bless all in this house and gie ye a glad New Year,” he said.

“And a glad New Year to you, laddie,” their Uncle George said.

Then I remembered about First Footing. If the first foot to cross your doorsill is that of a dark-haired young man, you’ll have good luck all the months ahead.

It was such a grand way to end the evening and start 1919.

“A year with no war,” Jo said softly.

— from IF I DIE BEFORE I WAKE, by Jean Little, published by Scholastic.


Jean Little at the Yorkville Library, December 8, 2019.

Jean Little at the Yorkville Library, December 8, 2019.

Our student guest reader reveals the plaque!

Our student guest reader reveals the plaque!

 

Jean Little’s novel, If I Die Before I Wake, tells the story of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic through the eyes of a 12-year-old girl who lives in Toronto. This special Bookmark is the first in a Commemorate Canada Anniversary Series and marks the 100th anniversary of the Spanish Flu Pandemic in Canada. The bilingual plaques were previewed on December 10, 2018, at an event generously hosted by the Yorkville Library, with President Elect Hughena Matheson and Board member Susan Lightstone welcoming author Jean Little and her sister, Patricia, to the Library. A class of children from Jesse Ketchum School, the same age as the character Fiona in the novel, also attended. Publisher Scholastic Canada gave each student a book of their own to take home!

Jean Little herself attended the Jesse Ketchum School, and warmly answered the children’s many questions about growing up in Toronto one hundred years ago during a war and the nation’s first pandemic. The passage, in French and English, depicts a scene from Fiona’s diary at the location on Collier Street where it is set.

The installation of the Jean Little Bookmark at the foot of the historical Collier Street is scheduled for warmer temperatures this Spring! Project Bookmark Canada is grateful to the City of Toronto Transportation Department, to the Department of Canadian Heritage Commemorate Canada Program and individual donors for their support of this plaque.


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About Jean Little and If I Die Before I Wake: The Flu Epidemic Diary of Fiona Macgregor

While the Great War was being fought overseas, people at home were facing another enemy: the Spanish Flu. In Jean Little’s If I Die Before I Wake, Fiona details her daily life through a series of diary entries chronicling both the flu outbreak and a time of great change in social attitudes and customs.

The Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, the deadliest in history, infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide—about one-third of the planet’s population—and killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million victims, including some 50,000 Canadians. Unlike most strains of influenza, which are dangerous for the elderly, the very young and those with pre-existing conditions, the Spanish Flu of 1918-19 tended to kill the young and hearty. Weakened by the flu, their usual cause of death was not the flu itself, but rather, pneumonia. Accidentally brought to Canada by troops returning home from WWI, the Spanish Flu was carried to even the most remote of communities. e epidemic was so severe, it led to the establishment of the federal Department of Health in 1919.

Jean Little is one of Canada’s most successful children’s authors and the first to deal extensively with issues of disability. Little has written over 50 books and received numerous awards, including the Canada Council Children’s Literature Award and the Writers’ Trust of Canada Matt Cohen Award in celebration of her writing life.

If I Die Before I Wake was originally published by Scholastic in 2007. This excerpt is used with the kind permission of the publisher.


The Passage:

Tuesday, December 31, 1918, New Year’s Eve

We played Hearts this time but then we switched to Pounce instead. Everybody shrieks and laughs. I’ll put the rules for it at the back of this journal, Jane, in case you want to teach it to your friends and I have forgotten how to play it. Even Jo got to laughing and then, all at once, she was weeping. Carrie’s Aunt Jen took her into another room for a few minutes and then Jo came back, red-eyed but ready to play again. It was like healing medicine, that game, and their big funny family. I hope we get asked back. None of them had been sick and the Flu is not nearly as bad any longer. It was the latest I have ever stayed out.

We knew we were not allowed to stay out too late, so at eleven we told ourselves we were somewhere in the world where it was already twelve and we sang “Auld Lang Syne.” It was not easy, for we thought of Jemma and all the others who had gone from us, but the words held us up and we crossed our hands and sang lustily. [...]

I thought of Jemma and almost burst out crying until, all at once, their Aunt Jen saved the situation by coming with a broom and opening the door and sweeping out the old year.By the time we had finished drinking a toast of her raspberry vinegar, which was lovely, it really was midnight, but William was nowhere to be found. We were hunting for him when there was this thundering on the door knocker. Carrie ran to open it and William, with a silly hat on his head, bowed low. “God bless all in this house and gie ye a glad New Year,” he said.

“And a glad New Year to you, laddie,” their Uncle George said.

Then I remembered about First Footing. If the first foot to cross your doorsill is that of a dark-haired young man, you’ll have good luck all the months ahead.

It was such a grand way to end the evening and start 1919.

“A year with no war,” Jo said softly.

We had come by streetcar and shank’s mare but one of the Galt cousins drove us home. We had a time packing all of us into their Model T Ford. There were three of us, plus William, Carrie and Betty Galt and the driver. Gerda took one look and said she would spend the night and come home in the morning. I would have had to sit on her knee, I think, so I was relieved. Jo ended up on William’s knee and got teased. Every time we hit a bump in the road, Jo’s head banged against the roof of the car. She said her brains felt positively scrambled by the time we reached Collier St. again.

 
 
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Banner photo credit: Lisa Sakulensky. 


BOOKMARKS 1–5    |    6–10    |    11–15    |    16–20    |    26–30

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#22 Love Enough


#22 Love Enough


BOOKMARKS 1–5    |    6–10    |    11–15    |    16–20    |    26–30


Bookmark #22 Toronto, Ontario

Love Enough, by Dionne Brand


The woman is brooding, so he is quiet. Every six months there’s an inspection on this car, he has to do this to keep the plates, then there’s the gas, then there’s the other driver, who is always crying about money as if Da’uud doesn’t have enough children of his own. Of course this is not what he would have done if there was any other way but there was no sense thinking about that. The heart is sore. Before you know it you’ve been driving a cab for ten years. The cab flies along the lake at the south of the city to Sunnyside.

“Where in Sunnyside?” he says when they are near to Parkside Drive.

“Just here,” the passenger says.

— from LOVE ENOUGH by Dionne Brand, published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada, a division of Random House Canada. Bookmarked at Toronto on December 8, 2018.


Watch the  TRAILER  for our special exhibit!

Watch the TRAILER for our special exhibit!

Visit the  EXHIBIT  – Dionne Brand READING and INTERVIEWS

Visit the EXHIBIT – Dionne Brand READING and INTERVIEWS

 

“From our acclaimed poet and novelist: a gem of a novel that sizzles about love — between lovers, between friends, and for the places we live in — and pays homage to each moment of experience.”
Love Enough Publisher, Vintage Canada

Project Bookmark Canada is honoured to add Dionne Brand’s Love Enough to Canada’s Literary Trail. A recipient of the Order of Canada, Brand is one of this nation’s most accomplished contemporary writers. 

Visit the enhanced audio and visual exhibit for Love Enough, created by artist duo Accounts & Records, featuring interviews with and a reading by Dionne Brand. 

An intimate fundraiser was co-hosted by Board President Don Oravec and Board member Susan Lightstone and held at the beautiful Jazz Bistro, venue sponsor, in downtown Toronto. Knopf Canada Publishing Director and Editor Lynn Henry introduced the author, and Dionne Brand read from the novel, Love Enough. The plaque was previewed at this event on September 13, and officially unveiled at the Lakeshore on December 8, 2019.

Thanks to the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council and our individual donors for their support in building this Bookmark.


About Dionne Brand and Love Enough

Dionne Brand’s literary credentials are legion. Her poetry has won the Griffin Poetry Prize, the Governor General's Literary Award, the Trillium Book Award and the Pat Lowther Memorial Award. Her novels have also won much acclaim, including the Toronto Book Award. Dionne Brand served as Toronto's Poet Laureate from 2009 to 2012. In 2017, she was named to the Order of Canada. She lives in Toronto.

Love Enough was originally published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada, a division of Random House of Canada, in 2014. This excerpt is used with the kind permission of the author.

Photo credit: Jason Chow.

Photo credit: Jason Chow.


The Passage:

“In this city you have to keep your belongings with you,” Da’uud tells this to a woman in his taxi. He tells her everything about the boy and everything about himself; how he was an economist, how he trained in Switzerland in 1978. How many languages he speaks, Italian, English, Arabic, French, Somali. How he went back home and how in 1994 he fled. The whole country fell apart under the men who knew everything. The military men, the religious men. The hard men. “You’ve heard this story?” he asks her. “Before you know it, you’re trapped. Five languages, Miss. Five.”

She is looking out the window along the lakeshore. “No, that’s terrible,” she says.
Why do men force their lives on me, she thinks.

“Yes, terrible,” he says. “So I tell him all this. He doesn’t care. He can’t understand.”

“Hmm,” she says.

Da’uud picked her up on Eastern Avenue and he’s driving her along the lake as it wanders in and out from view. “So where are you going, Miss?”

“Nowhere, really,” she says. She’s vague. But the man she is meeting has told her she is beautiful.

 “No, Miss, I mean the address. Where you call the taxi for to go.” He drives past the island airport with this red-haired passenger. Does it matter who he was before this? No, it doesn’t.

The day he stepped into this cab it ceased to matter who he was. The day he set foot in this cab his life, so to speak, changed.

“Sunnyside,” the passenger says.

“Sunnyside,” he repeats. “Sunnyside,” he repeats again. The woman is brooding, so he is quiet. Every six months there’s an inspection on this car, he has to do this to keep the plates, then there’s the gas, then there’s the other driver, who is always crying about money as if Da’uud doesn’t have enough children of his own. Of course this is not what he would have done if there was any other way but there was no sense thinking about that. The heart is sore. Before you know it you’ve been driving a cab for ten years. The cab flies along the lake at the south of the city to Sunnyside. 

“Where in Sunnyside?” he says when they are near to Parkside Drive.

“Just here,” the passenger says.

“Here?” 

“Yes, here. The parking lot,” she says.

He pulls into the parking lot. There are geese crossing the lot going toward the lake. Da’uud waits, the geese cross. He wishes he could come out of this cab and walk with the woman. She pays him, he sighs. It would change his life again to go walk with her. She waves to a man near a statue. Da’uud glimpses the man’s face. He doesn’t like it, it tears a sliver in his chest. He thinks, that man can kill someone. He has seen the faces of people who can kill people. The woman flutters toward the man. Da’uud leaves, saying to himself maybe he’s wrong, the things he knows are not useful. None of the things he knows has helped him to recover Bedri as a son, an obedient son whose life would redeem the choices a father makes.

 
 
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Banner photo credit: Lisa Sakulensky. 


BOOKMARKS 1–5    |    6–10    |    11–15    |    16–20    |    26–30

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#21 The Gable Window


#21 The Gable Window


BOOKMARKS 1–5    |    6–10    |    11–15    |    16–20    |    26–30


Bookmark #21 Cavendish, Prince Edward Island

“The Gable Window,” by L.M. Montgomery


I looked from it o’er bloomy meadows,
Where idle breezes lost their way,
To solemn hills, whose purple shadows
About them lay.

I saw the sunshine stream in splendor
O’er heaven’s utmost azure bars,
At eve the radiance, pure and tender,
Of white-browed stars.

– from the collection The Poetry of Lucy Maud Montgomery by L.M. Montgomery, published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside. Bookmarked at Cavendish, June 24, 2018.


David Macneill, L.M. Montgomery's cousin, and Laurie Murphy, Executive Director of Project Bookmark Canada, at The Macneill Homestead.

David Macneill, L.M. Montgomery's cousin, and Laurie Murphy, Executive Director of Project Bookmark Canada, at The Macneill Homestead.

Summertime at The Macneill Homestead, which has been in the same family since the 1700s.

Summertime at The Macneill Homestead, which has been in the same family since the 1700s.

 

The first Bookmark on Prince Edward Island is for Lucy Maud Montgomery's poem, “The Gable Window,” set at The Site of L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish Home. Dr. Elizabeth Epperly, in consultation with Jennie Macneill, suggested the poem to Project Bookmark Canada as ideal for a Bookmark. “There are so many lush and beautiful passages describing the Macneill place in the Anne and indeed Emily books,” wrote Epperly, “And right there is where the Montgomery fan experiences that ‘I know this place’ feeling and a sense of awe.” 

“‘Place’ figures prominently in Montgomery's work, and how appropriate that a tangible recognition of her work is placed at the site of the Macneill Homestead in Cavendish, so foundational for Montgomery's development and work," wrote Dr. Philip Smith, UPEI Psychology, and Chair, L.M. Montgomery Institute Committee, UPEI.

Kate Macdonald Butler, President of the Heirs of L.M. Montgomery (Inc.), supports the Cavendish Bookmark: "The Heirs of L.M. Montgomery are delighted that the first official Bookmark on Prince Edward Island honours L.M. Montgomery, on the Macneill site in Cavendish she loved so much." 


About L.M. Montgomery and “The Gable Window”

Lucy Maud Montgomery (November 30, 1874 – April 24, 1942) is a cherished Canadian author admired by readers around the world. She published 20 novels as well as more than 500 short stories, 500 poems, and numerous essays. Her works have been translated into over 35 languages, and she was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1935.

“The Gable Window” was first published in The Ladies Journal in 1897, when Montgomery was 23 years old. It was republished almost 100 years later in 1987 in The Poetry of Lucy Maud Montgomery by Fitzhenry & Whiteside. The poem is set in the Macneill Homestead, where L.M. Montgomery wrote hundreds of short stories and poems, in addition to Anne of Green Gables and three other novels.

This Bookmark is endorsed by the L.M. Montgomery Institute at the University of Prince Edward Island, the Heirs of L.M. Montgomery, and The Site of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Cavendish Home. L.M. Montgomery is a trademark of Heirs of L.M. Montgomery Inc.

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Banner photo: The Macneill Homestead, by Laurie Murphy. 


The Poem:

The Gable Window

It opened on a world of wonder,
When summer days were sweet and long,
A world of light, a world of splendor,
A world of song.

‘Twas there I passed my hours of dreaming,
‘Twas there I knelt at night to pray;
And, when the rose-lit dawn was streaming
Across the day,

I bent from it to catch the glory
Of all those radiant silver skies –
A resurrection allegory
For human eyes!

The summer raindrops on it beating,
The swallows clinging ‘neath the eaves,
The wayward shadows by it fleeting,
The whispering leaves;

The birds that passed in joyous vagrance,
The echoes of the golden moon,
The drifting in of subtle fragrance,
The wind’s low croon;

Held each a message and a token
In every hour of day and night;
A meaning wordless and unspoken,
Yet read aright.

I looked from it o’er bloomy meadows,
Where idle breezes lost their way,
To solemn hills, whose purple shadows
About them lay.

I saw the sunshine stream in splendor
O’er heaven’s utmost azure bars,
At eve the radiance, pure and tender,
Of white-browed stars.

I carried there my childish sorrows,
I wept my little griefs away;
I pictured there my glad to-morrows
In bright array.

The airy dreams of child and maiden
Hang round that gable window still,
As cling the vines, green and leaf-laden,
About the sill.

And though I lean no longer from it,
To gaze with loving reverent eyes,
On clouds and amethystine summit,
And star-sown skies.

The lessons at its casement taught me,
My life with rich fruition fill;
The rapture and the peace they brought me
Are with me still!


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